Fifty Years of Oregon Humanities

Looking back and looking forward in 2021

In 1971, six years after its founding, the National Endowment for the Humanities experimented with three different state affiliate models. Oregon was one of two states (along with Wyoming) to try the model of the volunteer committee—an independent organization rather than a state agency or a university department. This model proved to be an effective way to engage a wide range of individuals and organizations in supporting, developing, and implementing public humanities programs. The model stuck. Today, the great majority of state and territorial humanities councils are, like Oregon Humanities, independent nonprofit organizations that have formed strong partnerships across multiple sectors and networks in their state. 

Entering its fiftieth year, Oregon Humanities has gone far beyond its original charter. In 2021, we’re looking back at the last fifty years and forward at the next fifty. On this page, you'll find stories and events related to this milestone for our organization.

$500,000 in celebration of our 50th
for conversations, connections, and community

$813,750 of $500,000

Thank you to our 50th anniversary sponsors, the Collins Foundation and the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Foundation, who will match 50th anniversary gifts.

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Next Fifty Interviews

Throughout 2021 we're publishing interviews with forward-thinking Oregonians on what the future holds for our region.